Recently the Publishing Technology business unit PCG released their annual library study for 2014. Here is the executive summary and here is a link to the downloadable report.
Governments around the world have reacted differently to the economic situation they find their country in. Many have introduced austerity measures, while others have pursued an altogether different policy of stimulus. The plight of national economies is important as it impacts library budgets for the coming year/s.The IMF reported in April that global economic prospects had improved1. More recent announcements from the IMF suggest that the recovery is bumpy and that global growth in 2013 would be just over 3%2, slightly down on their earlier forecasts. While growth is higher in major emerging economies, there has been a downward shift; within the euro area the recession has proven to be deeper than expected, and in the US the economy is expanding, but not as fast as expected. In contrast growth has beenstronger than expected in Japan, mostly due to the depreciation of the yen.Similarly to the economic global outlook, the prospects for library budgets in 2014 are more positive - overall library budgets are expected to grow, albeit at a low rate of 1%. The materials budget is also set to increase by 1%. In respect to the underlying serials and books budgets, we see slightly higher increases. By diverting funds from other budget lines libraries indicate they will increase their serials and books budgets by 1.5% and 2% respectively.Although library budget forecasts this year are more positive than in previous years, many expect information price inflation to be greater than their predicted budget increases and many believe they will be pressed to maintain existing services.When forecasting further forward, the picture looks slightly better. Forecasts show that between now and 2017 the materials budget will increase by a year on year average of 1.7%.In geographical terms, Asia Pacific region predicts the most growth, with overall budgets set to increase by 4.2%. It seems many institutions are able to maintain or improve their holdings. In spite of the depreciation of the yen, which has reduced the purchasing power of libraries, Japanese librarians are a little more optimistic than they have been in recent years. This is likely due to the new Japanese government introducing quantitative easing and a fiscal stimulus that included a substantial investment in science3. North American and European budgets are largely static, but with a slight negative leaning. The overall budgets for these two key regions are expected to decline by 0.5% in 2014. Europe presents a slightly more mixed picture - although the overall budget is expected to decline slightly, through the management of various budget lines libraries will be able to increase their serials and books budgets. South America sees marginal increases across all four main budgetary areas, this follows decreases of between 3-4% forecast for 2013.As economic conditions continue to challenge, the allocation of budgets remains a careful balancing act. Given the optimistic forecasts for 2014, the expectation is that some budgetary pressures will ease as recovery from global recession continues.